Saturday, November 22, 2014

Frits's Tapes Number 83 & 84

Tape 83:

Tape 84:

Goin' To Chicago Blues! 1949-1957

Negro Rhythm Records 107
The cream of the early Chicago blues including the great J.B. Lenoir and Robert Jr. Lockwood.
Once again the lp has not been cleaned to keep the original sound of the tracks.
Visit Stefan Wirz's  site at for track listing.


Luther "Houserocker" Johnson - Takin' A Bite Outta The Blues

The latest Luther Johnson to add his name to the blues directory is an adept singer/guitarist who is a current favorite on the Atlanta blues scene. Proficient in various shadings of the electric blues idiom, Johnson has recently extended his repertoire from covers of blues standards to his own material, performed with the same '50s/'60s flavor.
Johnson taught himself how to play guitar when he was a teenager in Atlanta by listening to records. Soon, he began playing guitar in pickup bands, which gave him the opportunity to support such touring musicians as Johnny Winter. After several years playing in bar bands, Johnson formed his own group, the Houserockers.
The Houserockers played bars and clubs around Georgia for several years, eventually landing a record contract with Ichiban in 1989. The next year Johnson released his debut album, Takin' A Bite Outta the Blues. Two years later, his second record, Houserockin' Daddy, appeared. Luther "Houserocker" Johnson continued to tour the U.S. throughout the '90s.


Josh White - Chicago Sessions 1963

Thanks go to Gerard for sharing a cleaned version of the  Chicago sessions from 1963. these are the tracks that where released on the two Mercury LP's posted a couple of weeks ago. Something I didn't until Gerard told was that Sonny Boy Williamson is on harmonica.


Visitors requests....maybe you can help out

From now on I'll be using this post for your requests that I'll copy from the Chatbox. I'll do my best to keep it up te date.You may also leave requests, comments  and replies in the usual way and after moderation they will appear. As this posting will drop down the list with every new posting I will update it once a week to insure that it stays visible and near the top. Comments will be deleted regulary to keep them up to date.
Please do not request new or easy to find CD's as they will not be posted here. There are other excellent blogs that can help you out with your request.
That all been said we will have to start from scratch with the requests.

13-06-2014 Owlface: Victoria Spivey and her Blues - Spivey Records LP-1002
07-07-2014: Steve626: Ronnie Hawkins - Rrrracket Time, with James Cotton
24-07-2104 Anonymous: Guitar Shorty "On The Rampage" Olive Branch Blues LP - this is Guitar Shorty/David Kearney
04-08-2104 HM: Earl Hooker Put Your Shoes On Willie. Checker 45 B side to Tanya
10-8-2014 Bob Mac: Alfred Bolden: His Last and Greatest (King KS-G3-1106)
13-08-2014 Anonymous: George & Ethel McCoy: Early In The Morning - Adelphi AD 1004
18-08-2014 Gerard Herzhaft: Elmon Mickle & Ernie Pruitt Whatever You're Doing, Keep On Doing It/ Short 'n' Fat (E. M. and E. P. Records 133)Good Morning Little School girl(Wonder 15001)
20-08-2014 Rob F: Va - Those old happy days: 1960s blues from the Gulf (Flyright FLY 513)
23-08-2014 Aunt Fin: VA - Take A Little Walk With Me The Blues in Chicago  1948-1957
Boogie Disease
01-09-2014 Steve626: Big Joe Turner - The Real Boss of The Blues on Bluestime
07-09-2014 Leroy Slim: VA - Savannah Syncopators (CBS [UK]
12-09-2014: Riley: VA - Orange County Special (Flyright)
15-09-2014: Kempen: Snooks Eaglin: Message From New Orleans (Heritage vinyl)
03-10-2014 Anonymous: Herwin 405 "Cannonball: Piano Ragtime Of The Teens, Twenties & Thirties Vol. 2" and Wolf WSE106/WBCD-006: James "Yank" Rachel: Complete recordings in chronological order Vol. 1 (1934-38)
03-10-2014: Aunt Fin: New Orleans Willie Jackson ‎– 1926-1928, Old Tramp ‎– OT-1215
03-10-2014 Fabio: CC Richardson - Blues Of The City (Blue Jay) & I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues
10-10-2014 Anonymous: Down Home Slide – Testament record
14-10-2014 Anonymous: Memphis Slim - 'If The Rabbit Had a Gun LP
17-10-2014 Sanma Bluesandroll:  Wade Walton: Shake Em On Down" Bluesville LP BV 1060
19-10-2014 Anonymous: Screamin' Joe Neal - Rock & Roll Deacon
21-10-2014 Snakeboy: Clifton Chenier / Rod Bernard Lp - Boogie in Black & White
26-10-2014 Anonymous: Big Bill Broonzy – Lonesome Road Blues LP
22-11-2014 Luis Lisboa: Walter Horton – The Deep Blues Harmonica of Walter Horton. Thanks go to Marc(fr) for filling the request.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Little Brother Montgomery - Home Again, Chicago 1972

A notable influence on the likes of Sunnyland Slim and Otis Spann, pianist Little Brother Montgomery's lengthy career spanned both the earliest years of blues history and the electrified Chicago scene of the 1950s. By age 11, Montgomery had given up on attending school to instead play in Louisiana juke joints. He came to Chicago as early as 1926 and made his first 78s in 1930 for Paramount, including two enduring signature items, "Vicksburg Blues" and "No Special Rider," recorded in Grafton, WI. Bluebird recorded Montgomery more prolifically in 1935-1936 in New Orleans.
In 1942, Little Brother Montgomery settled down to a life of steady club gigs in Chicago, his repertoire alternating between blues and traditional jazz (he played Carnegie Hall with Kid Ory's Dixieland band in 1949). Otis Rush benefited from his sensitive accompaniment on several of his 1957-1958 Cobra dates, while Buddy Guy recruited him for similar duties when he nailed Montgomery's "First Time I Met the Blues" in a supercharged revival for Chess in 1960. That same year, Montgomery cut a fine album for Bluesville with guitarist Lafayette "Thing" Thomas that remains one of his most satisfying sets.
With his second wife, Janet Floberg, Montgomery formed his own little record company, FM, in 1969. The first 45 on the logo, fittingly enough, was a reprise of "Vicksburg Blues," with a vocal by Chicago chanteuse Jeanne Carroll (her daughter Karen followed in her footsteps around the Windy City).
(Bill Dahl - Allmusic)

Thanks go to Rob F. for sharing this LP that has not been re-released on cd.


Frits's Tapes Number 81 & 82

Tape 81:

Tape 82:

Some nice 45's from Frits ... give Little Willie Pollard a listen

Bob Kirkpatrick - Feeling The Blues

Kirkpatrick was born in Haynesville, Louisiana, United States. He became interested in music at an early age, learning to play the piano and later the guitar. He was drafted in 1953, and fought in the Korean War until he was discharged in 1955. Back home he enrolled at Grambling College, and he backed Ivory Joe Hunter during this time. But it was his attendance at a B.B. King concert in 1958 that led to Kirkpatrick pursuing blues music, albeit primarily as a part-time musician due to his daily working life. Kirkpatrick had previously settled in Dallas, Texas and, in 1968, declined the opportunity to back Bobby Bland on tour, preferring to remain at home with his young family. He continued to play locally in clubs.
He played three times at the Newport Folk Festival, with his debut appearance occurring in 1970. His performances there were assisted by his brother, who was on the board of directors of the Festival. His debut recording was Feeling the Blues (1973), issued on Folkways Records. Scarely promoted, Kirkpatrick later remarked, "I don't think it added anything of significance to my career." The album included his cover version of B.B. King's blues standard, "Sweet Little Angel". Continuing to work for various federal agencies, he also held a weekend residency at Elks Lodge in south Dallas for 16 years, before his retirement from work with the United States Department of Agriculture in May 1986.
From that time onwards, Kirkpatrick increased his regional club performances. He recorded Going Back to Texas in 1996, his first release in 23 years. In late 1997, he followed this with a lengthy tour across the UK, Ireland and France. (wikipedia)


George Smith - Arkansas Trap

George Smith was born April 22, 1924, in Helena, Arkansas, but he was raised upriver in Cairo, Illinois for most of his youth. His mother, Jessie, a musician herself, schooled the young Smith on harmonica when he was only four.

As a teenager, Smith began hoboing around Southern towns, eventually teaming up with Early Woods' country band, featuring Woods on fiddle and Curtis Gould on spoons. Together, they played fish fries and picnics throughout the Delta region. In 1941, Smith moved with his mother to Rock Island, Illinois, working mostly outside music, but managing to play a few gigs with a band that included future Muddy Waters drummer, Francis Clay. Then it was back to Mississippi, where Smith joined The Jackson Jubilee Singers, a gospel group.

After that, Smith worked in and out of music, scraping together a living as best he (or anyone in his social position in the Jim Crow South) could. While employed as a projectionist at a theatre in Itta Bena, he discovered he could take the amplifier and speaker from his Bell & Howell film projector and use it to amplify his harmonica. This was in the late 1940's, making Smith among the first to explore the possibilities of amplified sound for this instrument.

There remains some conjecture as to when Smith moved to Chicago. Smith himself said it was 1949; others have amended the date to 1951. Regardless, the golden era of Chicago blues was in full swing when the lanky young man showed up. Already a seasoned player, Smith landed gigs with Otis Rush and the Myers brothers. Like anyone playing harp at that time (and since), he fell under the sway of Little Walter, and, according to Smiths mother, the two men became fast friends. When Henry Strong, Walter's hand-picked replacement in Muddy Waters' band, was killed, Muddy called upon Smith to fill the spot. Smith toured the South with Waters, but his stint in First Chair of Blues Harmonica was, for reasons not entirely known, short-lived. Possibly his style didn't mesh as well with Muddy's sound; possibly he grew restless in a sideman role. Whatever the case, by 1954 Smith found himself accepting a permanent house gig at The Orchid Room in Kansas City. By this time, he had a fully developed style of his own, influenced not just by Little Walter but by chromatic virtuoso Larry Adler. Smith's facility on the chromatic was unmatched in the blues world. His style must have been reinforced by the jazz-flavored accompaniment his Kansas City musicians provided him; certainly their more urbane, swinging approach lent itself to his way of playing better than Muddy's electrified Delta sound ever did.

In 1955, Joe Bihari of Modern Records was on a scouting trip when he caught Smiths act in The Orchid Room. He signed him up immediately and recorded several sessions, producing some classic tracks like "Telephone Blues" and "Blues In The Dark," the song that unleashed Smith's chromatic technique on the world. Smith often approached his solos by using his tongue-blocked octave technique to imitate horn section riffs (as opposed to copying the single notes of a soloist). This gave his playing incredible power. He also knew how to coax a variety of tonal shadings and subtle pitch variations out of a single note by combining bends and microphone manipulation. And he built suspense by phrasing his attack just behind the beat. As a result, his tunes swung relentlessly.

When both records began to sell well, Orchid Room owner Marty Graham arranged for Smith to travel on a Universal Attractions tour with Champion Jack Dupree and Little Willie John. They barnstormed the country, stopping off in Cincinnatti in November, 1955, to do a recording session. There, Smith recorded "Sharp Harp" and "Overhead Blues", as well as other songs as a sideman for Champion Jack Dupree. After that, it was on to Los Angeles, the city that was to be Smith's home for the rest of his life.

When the Univeral Attractions tour broke up in L.A., Smith found himself in a city with a comfortable climate, a large African-American population, and the home base for his record label. It's not surprising that he chose to settle there. Much of his style had already developed, and since the West Coast swing bands differed little from the swing bands of Kansas City, Smith found his whole horn section riffing approach worked well. He recorded another session for Bihari, this time with a horn section, producing "Cross-Eyed Suzie Lee" and "Down In New Orleans".

By this time, however, the rock 'n roll craze had begun to eat away at the sale of blues records, and Smith's tracks fared less well than before. Bihari dropped him from the label. Smith found himself hustling and scraping once more, only now he had a growing family to support. He made a string of recordings for any small label that would work with him: J & M, Lapel, Melker, Caddy, Carolyn and Sotoplay. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, Smith adopted a variety of monikers for these recordings, including The Harmonica King, Little Walter Junior and George Allen. He did the same thing for his live shows. Rod Piazza recalled, "When we played Watts, no one ever knew George as George Smith. He was Little Walter or Big Walter." This sort of subterfuge may have drawn more people to his live shows (Piazza himself thought he was going to see Big Walter Horton the first time he met Smith), but it made it impossible to establish a reputation under his own name.

In 1966, Smith was reunited with Muddy Waters for a second time, following James Cotton's departure. Smith moved back to Chicago, but this phase of his career, like his first with Muddy, lasted only a year or so - but long enough for Smith to record with Muddy's band for Victoria Spivey's label. Smith also played behind Otis Spann on a live set Bob Thiele recorded for Bluesway in 1966. Soon after, Smith returned to his family in Los Angeles, but he and Muddy remained on good terms, and when Little Walter died in 1968, Smith called on Muddy's band to support him on A Tribute To Little Walter on World Pacific Records. Smith covered number of Walter's tunes brilliantly, imposing his own style on many of them, but again, by making the album focus on another man's tunes, Smith deflected attention from himself.

Around this time, Smith encountered a young Rod Piazza, and the two went on to form The Southside Blues Band. By then, the first so-called blues revival was in full swing, with a growing white audience, and Smith's multiracial band stood poised to capitalize on it. The group toured nationally with Big Mama Thornton. Producer Bob Thiele assembled them for the fine 1969 album, ...Of The Blues, again on World Pacific. Smith's "Juicy Harmonica" from this session is an instrumental classic, and the chromatic workouts "Hawaiian Eye" and "Blues For Reverend King" are noteworthy, as well. At the turn of the decade, British producer Mike Vernon came along and signed the group to a European tour. He also changed the band's name to Bacon Fat. In 1970, Smith recorded No Time For Jive for Vernon, and a year later he returned to England and recorded Arkansas Trap. But despite his success in Europe, Smith still found it hard to get gigs at home.

The '70s also brought a decline in Smith's health. His heart condition began to deteriorate, but he did his best to remain active on the local scene. He recorded as a sideman for Eddie Taylor's Feel So Bad album on Advent and backed Big Mama Thornton on her 1976 Vanguard album. He befriended the late William Clarke and coached him on the chromatic harp. The two played together, and Clarke recalled how he and Smith would split their thirty-five dollar take at the end of the night. "He showed me: never play your audience cheap," Clarke said. He always put on a show and gave it his best - despite sometimes disappointing crowds and always disappointing pay. Smith's final recording project came in 1982.

He reunited with Piazza's band to cut Boogie'n With George for the Murray Bothers label. Although Smith would succumb to a heart attack months later, his playing and singing on Boogie'n With George is superb - and it's interesting to hear him stretch out on some different material like "Peg O' My Heart" (the old Harmonicats hit). From the jumping title track and "Sunbird" - which feature Smith's horn section approach - to the impassioned slow blues "Bad Start" and previously unreleased (and aptly named) "Last Chance," the Murray Brothers session smoked from start to finish. The session was to be Smith's last chance, unfortunately, as he suffered a heart attack and died on October 2, 1983. Now most of these tracks, sought after by collectors for years, along with some of Smith's output for Sotoplay in the '60s, are finally seeing the light of day on compact disc with the release of Blind Pig's Now You Can Talk About Me.
(Bio from Amazon)